Allow me to let you in on a secret, dear friends: Zetetic’s “guest post by David Farrar“* on The Standard actually has nothing to do with health. And nothing to do with caring about young people.
But your Majesty! you cry. Isn’t it about exactly those things?
Alas no, dear readers.
You see, Zetetic’s post is all about how fat kids can’t run and fat kids need to put down the chips.
If Zetetic’s post actually were about “health” …
Maybe Z would talk about poverty.
Maybe Z would talk about the fact that even a family on a double income may not be able to afford the necessities of life at people who work 80 hour weeks probably don’t have the time to cook from scratch with local/organic/wevs ingredients every meal.
Maybe Z would talk about how our modern society has fucked with people’s connection to their cultures and food traditions in favour of consumerism and greed (but not greed associated with food).
Maybe Z would talk about the obscene markups supermarkets put on “healthy” foods and fresh ingredients. Or about the higher markup and lower availability of “healthy” foods which haven’t been liberally bathed in pesticides.
Maybe Z would talk about the stigma associated with obesity, with “over”weight or even with just being a little on the chubby side, and how maybe, you know, kids who are constantly shamed and criticised and teased – and whose shaming and teasing and abuse is fucking justified and sanctioned by adults – might not feel like getting dressed in a changing room full of their abusers and judgers, and might not feel like submitting themselves to further humiliation when they commit the cardinal sin of Running While Fat.
At intermediate, I had already undergone significant preparatory stages in my journey towards being a Fucking Hot Fat Chick and having Fucking Amazing Big Breasts. And burned into my memory for all time is the day the class was running short laps back and forth across the netball court and a boy pointed at my swaying bosom and laughed really nastily and called his mates over to share the “look, proto-QoT has boobs” joke.
Guess how keen I was to ever repeat that experience? The answer, internets, is not very fucking keen at all. I ended up so hating my breasts that I slept in a sports bra for three years. I did not remove my bra except to bathe. I was convinced that to be seen with visibly moving breasts was absolutely the most shameful thing I could ever do. I refused to run at top speed (not hugely fast, of course, for I am one of Nature’s Long Distance Walkers) until I was well into adulthood and priorities like “catch the bus and make it to work on time” took precedence – briefly – over shame.
And if I had read a post like Zetetic’s during adolescence, when I hated every mouthful of food I ate and certainly knew I wasn’t “healthy” – I couldn’t BE healthy, after all, I was FAT – well, I’m not going to say it would have been hugely traumatic. It would just have been another straw on the camel’s back and maybe the one that might have triggered an eating disorder or another depressive episode.
It wouldn’t have made me fucking thin, though.
No, Zetetic – and his many supporters – aren’t actually interested in how these things – poverty, capitalism, social pressure – actually contribute to actual health problems of which fatness may in some cases be a symptom. Z just wants to play know-it-all and get a warm tinge of superiority by hating on children – but just the ones it’s socially OK to hate on, I mean, we are talking about fatties who can only be fat because they’re stupid and lazy.
You may be sceptical, I know. Litmus test time!
the 12 year-old who can’t climb a flight of stairs without wheezing and going red in the face
If you’re a 9 year old and you want to stuff chips into your face until you’re obese
Oh, QoT! you cry. Zetetic is just concerned for the kids’ health! He’s just riffing on rightwing/libertarian freedom-of-choice dogma!
No, dear readers. You see, if Zetetic is “concerned” about that 12-year-old’s health – in this case apparently completely measured by ability-to-climb-stairs** – then Zetetic should also care enough not to use that child as a symbol of The End Of The World As We Know It. And how convenient for Z that “satirising” that particular style conveniently allows him to parrot classic fat-hating, bullying tropes about how fat people “choose” to eat themselves into Horrible Obesity!
Tell you what, inevitable concern-trolling objecters: a challenge! Criticise the earlier scrapping of Fruit in Schools or similar programmes … without making cracks about how Fat Kids Can’t Run or Poor People Are Stupid or Everyone Knows Fat Is Bad. You’ll get a fun mental workout and might learn something – about yourself and how big a bigot you really are.
(Zetetic, sorry, probably too late for you given previous form.)
*I imagine Zetetic also feels amazingly clever because, lol, David Farrar is fat, so that makes it, like, ironic!
**More on why this is full of bonus ableism fail in an upcoming post!
Zetetic/Zetitic is a new addition to the team at The Standard.
Z also has a tiny bit of a problem with fat people.
First, there was this comment:
Guess I shouldn’t have wasted my vote on RAM but when I saw a really fat RAM dude wearing a ‘GST off food’ shirt I was like ‘awesome, those guys are getting my vote’
Elaborated upon thus:
Seriously, edoze. you didn’t see how funny it was.
The total lack of self-awareness or irony in a guy who clearly has no trouble getting more than enough food calling for the price of food to be reduced.
And called on by me:
So we’ve got “making assumptions about people’s lifestyle based on their size” combined with “basic misunderstanding about the fact that a key reason for campaigning to remove GST from foods is to lower the cost of fresh and more nutritious foods” resulting in a subpar fat joke. Not funny, not clever, not cool.
I think my point was fairly clear. And with that, one would think, was the end of it – not that I’m claiming Instant Ideological Victory or anything, just the assumption that, like so many other random derailments on so many blogs, it was over and done with and we’d each go off on our separate ways.
Until Zetetic/Zetitic, of Z’s own accord, brings it all up again, in a comment ostensibly about racism:
And that’s, um … kind of telling.
Seriously, Z, over half a comment about racism dedicated to irrelevant ramblings about yours truly? And it’s not like you left much to unpack!
I’ld relate the main reason again but then QoT would tell me off for again not being PC enough.
Accusing one’s opponent of objecting on the grounds of political correctness? Seriously? Is Z channelling the bastard soulchild of Christine Rankin and Wayne Mapp? Is it even vaguely relevant to my actual comment? Was my comment somehow unclear as to the objections I had? Sincere confusion here, people.
As if I don’t understand that being fat sucks.
It was the visual juxtaposition, QoT. And the fact that the dude was not aware of it.
A quinella of bingos, here, with “get a sense of humour” beating “fat people are stupid and ergo funny” by a nose.
I know his weight problems might have been glandular. It’s always glandular these days isn’t it. Even when the person hardly does any excerise and stuffs food in their mouth all day long we have to assume its glandular.
Again, some beautiful pulling random comments never made out of Z’s ass. But at the same time, Z calls on a classic obesity myth: fat people are in denial about their Bad Diets and Lack Of Exercise, and blame their weight on glandular problems because They’re Stupid And Don’t Understand That Their Diets Are Shit.
And this is all in relation to someone campaigning to get the GST off basic foods so people can actually afford to eat fresh, unprocessed foods which might be healthier for them! Could be that Z’s reaching a bit.
And because of that [cry to assumed excuse of glandular problems] nothing concerning their weight can ever be funny because its a medicial condition.
God forbid we don’t mock people due to their appearance, especially if it is due to a health condition! The thought! The sheer PC-ness of it all!
Stuff all that, it looked funny, it’s not an attack on the guy, it’s not personal, it was just a funny visual juxtaposition.
I do not need to tell anyone that crying “it’s just a JOKE!!!” is the very first resort of someone who just can’t be bothered to not be offensive. Instead of thinking “gee, why do I perceive fat people as objects of humour instead of human beings?” or wondering “could weight be due to something more than what Jenny Craig ads and episodes of Downsize Me tell me daily?” no, it’s just easier to whinge because The Evil Liberals/Feminists/Fat Activists/advocacy group of choice want to take away your ability to crack jokes requiring all the brainpower of a boiled egg.
And here’s the thing, folks: this isn’t even in reply to me. This is, out of nowhere, tacked into a comment on a totally different post on a totally different topic which Z has no idea if I’ll even read or comment on.
Seems like I may have hit a nerve there.